Candied Buddha’s Hand
Buddha’s Hand may look like something from another planet, but it is essentially just a lemon with fingers. A very fragrant and much less bitter lemon with fingers. How cool is that!
You can use Buddha’s hand pretty much any way you use lemon peel. It is not juicy, but you can eat the entire fruit. Even raw.
This particular specimen is going to get candied. Oh yeah.
Although there may be some bitterness, this pith is not bitter like the pith of other citrus fruits. The entire fruit may be eaten, even raw. This citron is not juicy.
Diced Buddha’s Hand. Any size dice that you like is fine for making candy. But smaller pieces will be sweeter.
Fingers. For presentation. Or just the right party.
There are methods for finding the thread stage in candy-making. If you are a candy maker, feel free to use them! If not, your safest bet is a candy thermometer.
You can eat these as soon as they cool. But they get so much nicer with drying. Plus, this makes a great make-ahead! Here are candy pieces fresh from the hot syrup on a drying rack. Please keep all little fingers away from these fingers!
And, drumroll…. the finished candy, after it has been tossed in sugar.
Candied Buddha’s Hand
- one buddha’s hand citron (or peel from another citrus fruit, like lemons and oranges)
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- extra sugar, for tossing
Wash buddha’s hand as you would wash any fruit. Cut into pieces as desired. You can slice and dice the entire fruit into bite-sized pieces, Or you can leave the finger ends whole for presentation. Small pieces make for very sweet candy bites.
Pre-boil, if desired. There are two schools of thought on this. The pith in a buddha’s hand is not bitter like the pith in other citrus fruits. Still, there can be some bitterness. It depends on each piece of fruit. When candying a lemon or an orange, it is important to cook out the bitterness by boiling it (at a high simmer) for about 15 or so minutes before candying it. If you have only small strips of peel, a few minutes could do the trick. If your citrus fruit is very bitter, you can boil the pieces in this way before candying it.
However, many chefs do not pre-boil buddha’s hand citron because they feel that it loses flavor and often the pith is not bitter anyway.
Place fruit pieces into a sauce pot with sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer until it reaches the thread stage, or temperature reaches 230°. Use a candy thermometer for best results.
Have prepared a drying rack, lightly oiled, place over a cookie sheet or heat-safe dish. The hot sticky syrup will drip onto the cookie sheet or dish. Save this! Use it as a lemony simple syrup. It is delicious!
Using a slotted heat-safe spoon, carefully strain fruit pieces from the syrup and place them onto your prepared drying rack. Spread the pieces apart so they can dry without sticking together. For best results, allow the candies to sit out and dry overnight. Then toss them in sugar, any sugar you like. Some prefer a confectioner’s sugar. I use whatever I have on hand. Ha! No pun intended.